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Curious Humpback Damages Lifeforce Whale Protection Boat
posted on October 2, 2018

Curious Humpback Damages Lifeforce Whale Protection Boat

October 1, 2018
Curious Humpback Damages Whale Protection Boat
One of two curious Humpback whales accidentally banged the head against the Lifeforce Ocean Friends boat and shattered a window. This happened last Thursday afternoon in waters off Comox Harbour, BC. Lifeforce Director and Operator said, “Having a bus-sized, 20 ton whale bang into your boat was a bit unsettling but fortunately the whale and I were not cut because it was safety glass. The whale actually came back to perhaps look at what had happened.”
“Other Humpbacks have lifted their heads a few feet out of the water when “Head Viewing” as seen in the beginning of this video too. However, this one came too far out of the water to check out this strange floating object and species. Perhaps this particular Humpback may not be that boat wise or as graceful as others. After the window was shattered one’s pectoral flipper banged the boat and one floated too close slightly lifting the boat. Since this is unusual behavior I waited for them to move away as they circled then I turn on the engine and slowly moved away.” added Hamilton.
Humpbacks are known to approach and check out boats and boaters. This is frequently called “mugging”. It is their choice and is illegal to attempt to initiate it. For both whale and human safety they must not get habituated to boats. This is Lifeforce’s 10th “mugging” encounter in the past 3 years and during all previous encounters there were no such incidents. These bus-size whales are very sensitive to their surroundings and usually do not touch the boats. I have always just shut off the engine to enjoy this rare gift of nature. The previous visits ranged from 5 to 60 minutes with 1 to 3 whales present. This last one lasted about 20 minutes.
Don’t Blame Them!
“Humpbacks are not to blame because we are visitors in their home waters. Their numbers are increasing since their near extinction caused by the whaling industry. This should be a reminder to all that Nature can be unpredictable and accidents can happen,” stated Peter Hamilton, “This has resulted in serious harm and injuries for both whales and humans. Humpback whales have collided with boats. Accidents included severe facial injuries to one boater and another person being paralysed. Humpbacks and other species have also been seriously injured from major cuts by boat propellers. In 2017, a Humpback was hit by two different boats within a short period of time near Campbell River. They also get entangled and injured from derelict fishing gear. On July 8th Lifeforce found a Humpback seriously injured in waters off the Comox Valley, BC. This baby had several injuries such as a fresh severe deep cut exposing part of the spine between the dorsal and tail. News Report:

Hamilton also said, “Hopefully this unfortunate Humpback accident provides the opportunity to further raise public awareness of how to protect whales and humans. Boaters must keep a minimum distance of 100 meters from humpbacks. It is also recommended to stay greater distances from all cetaceans if they have babies. Lifeforce provides educational material such as “Humpback and Gray Whale Watching”. In 2017, Lifeforce produced a Nature’s Moments “Humpback Heaven or Hell?” video showing people what to expect when travelling in Humpback territory. Humpback Heaven or Hell? Can be viewed at HUMPBACK EDUCATION VIDEO.

Lifeforce is a Canadian based non-profit ecology charity created in 1981. Our Ocean Friends projects initially started as Marine Life Programs in 1993. Lifeforce Founder, Peter Hamilton, studies behaviour and travel patterns of humpbacks and orcas. The Lifewatch Boater Awareness helps educate boaters about Marine Mammal Regulations and safety for both people and the whales. More information: OCEAN FRIENDS.

The video “Curious Humpback Damages Whale Protection Boat” is available at VIDEO.

For Further information: Peter Hamilton at lifeforcesociety@gmail.com
Lifeforce have been fighting to save these humpbacks and orcas from since 1993. You can contribute to protecting them and repairing the boat by making a donation to Lifeforce Foundation through Paypal. PAYPAL.